Archive of Mac Pro Rumors

Major graphics processing providers AMD and Nvidia are set to unveil new GPU products this year featuring Global Foundries' 14 nm FinFET and TSMC's 16 nm FinFET Plus processor nodes, respectively, allowing for significant improvements in graphics performance.

AMD's "Polaris" and Nvidia's "Pascal" architectures both utilize the latest FinFET silicon processes and will represent the first GPU process node change since 28 nm GPUs debuted in 2011. Both AMD and Nvidia skipped the intermediate 20 nm node, elongating the typical release cycle of consumer graphics processors.

While TSMC had traditionally provided multiple process offerings within a node, including one specifically tailored to higher power applications such as GPUs, the company found that the traditional planar geometries of its 20 nm node gave the firm less differentiation with its normal set of tweaks, rendering it a poor candidate for power hungry GPUs.

In a statement released earlier this year, AMD claimed that the new 14 nm Polaris GPUs will offer over double the performance per watt of their 28 nm predecessors. This news also confirmed AMD's use of Global Foundries' 14 nm FinFET process, rather than TSMC's 16 nm process, which Nvidia will use. While AMD confirmed the use of TSMC for its higher power product offerings, any products developed from that process node would be destined for the Mac Pro only, as Apple has traditionally used mobile GPUs for its notebook and iMac product lines.

The new FinFET process nodes promise a big performance jump for AMD's Polaris architecture

Product launches for these new GPUs are expected to occur around the summer timeframe. While Nvidia introduced its massive new Tesla P100 graphics card just this week, one rumor pegs the broader launch of the company's GeForce Pascal line around the time of Computex, which takes place from May 31 to June 4.

In addition to the new process nodes, both new architectures are expected to utilize a variety of new high-speed memories such as GDDR5x and HBM2, which promise improved memory bandwidth and memory size, in HBM2's case. AMD has already previously successfully launched a product utilizing a new 3DIC memory technology with their debut of the "Fury" line in 2015.

Though GPU rumor cycles tend to focus on desktop products, AMD's CEO stated that both desktops and laptops featuring the new Polaris GPUs are expected to launch before the back to school season. Apple has traditionally alternated between GPU offerings from both AMD and Nvidia when it comes to its product lines, with AMD owning the wins for the latest iterations of both the 27-inch iMac and MacBook Pro lines.

The MacBook Pro in particular is due for an update, and rumors have suggested new models could arrive at WWDC in June, but it is unclear whether Apple would be able to feature the upcoming GPUs within that timeframe. Apple has sometimes been very quick to incorporate the latest technology from its partners, but other times as waited quite some time before upgrading. Updates for the 27-inch iMac are less imminent, as the line was just upgraded to Intel's latest Skylake processors in October.
Mac-ProApple today launched a new Repair Extension Program that addresses video issues on some late 2013 Mac Pro models, according to an internal notice obtained by MacRumors.

Apple has determined that graphics cards in some late 2013 Mac Pros, manufactured between February 8, 2015 and April 11, 2015, may cause distorted video, no video, system instability, freezing, restarts, shut downs, or may prevent system start up.

Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider will repair eligible Mac Pro models affected by the video issues free of charge until May 30, 2018. Apple lists a turnaround time of about 3-5 days.

Apple says both graphics cards must be replaced on Mac Pros exhibiting any of the problems listed above. AMD's FirePro D500 (high-end model) and D700 (built-to-order) GPUs are affected. AMD's FirePro D300 GPU on the base Mac Pro is not listed.

Customers can book an appointment with the Genius Bar at an Apple Store or visit an Apple Authorized Service Provider to determine if their Mac Pro is eligible for coverage. Unlike Apple's voluntary recall of some international AC wall adapters last week, Apple is unlikely to publicly announce this repair program on its support website, but it may contact some customers directly.

A lengthy Apple Support Communities topic was posted about Mac Pro video issues in February 2015, and it has since amassed nearly 3,500 views and 50 replies from affected users. One customer claimed Apple agreed to replace his Mac Pro's graphics card after he contacted the company's support team about the issue.

Apple also launched a repair program for 2011-2013 MacBook Pros with video issues in February 2015.
With the launch of the Apple Watch, the iPhone 6s and the 6s Plus, the new Apple TV, and the iPad Pro, 2015 was a major year for Apple. The Apple Watch introduced a whole new category, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus saw the debut of 3D Touch, and the iPad Pro brought Apple's largest iOS device yet.

iOS 9, watchOS 2, and OS X 10.11 El Capitan brought refinements to Apple's operating systems, and the fourth-generation Apple TV came with a brand new operating system, tvOS. 2015 saw a huge number of new products and software updates, and 2016 promises to be just as exciting.

A second-generation Apple Watch is in the works and could launch in early 2016, while new flagship iPhones, the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, are coming in late 2016. Those who love smaller devices will be excited to hear a 4-inch iPhone 6c may be coming early in 2016, and Apple's Mac lineup is expected to gain Skylake chip updates.

New software, including iOS 10, OS X 10.12, watchOS 3, and an upgraded version of tvOS are all expected in 2016, and Apple will undoubtedly work on improving services like HomeKit, Apple Pay, and Apple Music.

As we did for 2014 and 2015, we've highlighted Apple's prospective 2016 product plans, outlining what we might see from Apple over the course of the next 12 months based on current rumors, past releases, and logical upgrade choices.

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It's been two years since Apple launched its radically redesigned Mac Pro, but the professional-level workstation has not seen any updates since that time despite the availability of upgraded versions of many of the components used in the machine. We may be getting closer to an update, however, as Pike's Universum has discovered a reference to a new Mac code name of "AAPLJ951" within OS X El Capitan.

The identity of the Mac corresponding to that code name is not explicitly revealed in OS X, but Pike points to the similar AAPLJ90 code name for the current Mac Pro as a reason to believe this new machine is a Mac Pro.

The data is identical to that of the late 2015 (iMac17,1 in the same file) so it may as well be a remnant of the new iMac, but the strange thing is that the XHCI data for the late 2015 iMac is also there, which is why I believe that this is not/was not added for the/a new iMac but another Mac.

And like I said earlier in the comments, there are too many USB 3 ports defined to fit on a MacBook (Pro) and Mac Mini. This and the fact that there is already support for newer graphics chips [baked] into El Capitan… is why I think that it was added for a new Mac Pro. I personally sure hope so.
Looking toward possible specs for the next Mac Pro, it seems likely it will run on Xeon-branded Broadwell EP chips and include significantly faster graphics based on AMD's Fury platform, along with faster memory and storage and perhaps Thunderbolt 3 connectivity involving a partial shift to USB-C connectivity.
Apple has raised its prices for the MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini and Mac Pro this week in Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Norway, Malaysia, Mexico, Thailand and Turkey as the values of foreign currencies continue to fluctuate against the U.S. dollar.

MacBook Air prices in New Zealand, for example, ranged between NZ$1,399.00 and NZ$1,799.00 for stock configurations prior to the price increase, but the lineup is now priced between NZ$1,599.00 and NZ$2,199.00.

Similarly, the base model Mac mini now starts at NZ$899, up from NZ$749, while the base model Mac Pro rose from NZ$4,499.00 to NZ$5,699.00. The 12-inch MacBook is now priced from NZ$2,399, a $400 increase over the original NZ$1,999 price.

The price increases were consistent on the Apple Online Store in the other affected countries. In Brazil, for instance, the MacBook Air now costs between R$ 8.499,00 and R$ 11.499,00, up from between R$ 5.899,00 and R$ 7.699,00.

Retina MacBook Pro prices now start at kr 14 990,00 in Norway, as another example, an increase over the former kr 12 590,00 price for the entry-level configuration. In Malaysia, the Retina MacBook Pro is also now more expensive, at RM 5,899.00 and up.

Apple reports its quarterly earnings in U.S. dollars, and routinely adjusts its prices in foreign countries due to currency exchange rates that are beyond its control. Australia, Canada and Europe have faced similar price increases this year.

Update: MacRumors has confirmed several tips from readers about similar price increases on Macs and some other products in Australia, Mexico, Thailand and Turkey.
Intel has released detailed information about its upcoming Skylake processors for notebooks and desktops ahead of IFA 2015 in Berlin (via Ars Technica). The sixth-generation chips will deliver CPU and GPU performance improvements and longer battery life, and are likely to power future MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and iMac models released over the next year.

Retina MacBook

Intel's new lineup of Core M processors appropriate for the 12-inch Retina MacBook will provide up to 10 hours of battery life, between 10%-20% faster CPU performance and up to 40% faster graphics compared to equivalent Broadwell chips.

CPU World accurately shared Core m3, Core m5 and Core m7 specifications last week, with all three families of chips including Intel HD 515 graphics, 4MB of L3 cache and 4.5 watt thermal design power (TDP).

Intel Skylake Core M MacBook
The low-end Core m3 6Y30 replaces the Core M-5Y31 and is likely suited for the base model 12-inch MacBook sold for $1,299. The mid-tier Core m5 6Y54 and Core m5 6Y57 replace the Core M-5Y51 on the high-end 12-inch MacBook sold for $1,599, while the high-end Core m7 6Y75 replaces the Core M-5Y71 for top-of-the-line 12-inch MacBook custom configurations.

Core M processors have configurable TDPs, allowing for performance and heat output to be adjusted. Core m3, m5 and m7 chips can be run at 3.5-3.8 watts or be increased to 7 watts to allow for higher CPU clock speeds. For the current 12-inch MacBook, Apple boosted the 900 MHz 5Y31 chip to 1.1 GHz, 1.1 GHz 5Y51 chip to 1.2 GHz and 1.2 GHz 5Y71 chip to 1.3 GHz.

Ars Technica notes that Core M processors should be available to Apple and other PC makers now, meaning that Core m3, m5 and m7-powered notebooks could begin shipping within the next few months. However, given that the 12-inch MacBook just launched in April, it remains uncertain if Apple is willing to release updated models this soon or hold off until 2016.

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With the release of OS X 10.10.3 last Wednesday, Apple has expanded support for high-resolution 4K and even 5K external displays (via 9to5Mac). Most notably, OS X 10.10.3 enables the Retina 5K iMac and 2013 Mac Pro to drive Dell's UP2715K 27-inch 5K display released late last year. The display requires more bandwidth than is currently supported over a current single DisplayPort/Thunderbolt cable, so it uses a dual-cable solution taking up two ports on the user's machine.

This bandwidth issue for the current DisplayPort standard has been seen as a major roadblock keeping Apple from releasing a standalone 5K Thunderbolt Display. With the Retina iMac, Apple has been able to build custom internal components to drive the massive display, but for external displays, a dual-cable solution such as that used by Dell has been considered by many to be "un-Apple like."

As a result, Apple has been widely expected to wait until the release of Intel's Skylake platform with DisplayPort 1.3 support later this year before releasing an external 5K Thunderbolt Display that will function over a single cable. Whether the inclusion of support for Dell's dual-cable solution in OS X 10.10.3 is a sign Apple may be willing to adopt that arrangement for its own display and perhaps release it earlier is, however, unclear.

Beyond 5K displays, OS X 10.10.3 has also expanded support for 4K displays to include "most single-stream 4K (3840x2160) displays" at 60 Hz, expanding beyond the previous support of only Multi-Stream Transport displays introduced in late updates to Mavericks. The new 4K display support will function with most of the Mac line, from the 27-inch iMac to the brand-new Retina MacBook. However, only the Mac Pro and iMac will support full 4096x2160 resolution at 60Hz.
With OS X Yosemite v10.10.3, most single-stream 4K (3840x2160) displays are supported at 60Hz operation on the following Mac computers:

- MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2014)
- Mac Pro (Late 2013)
- iMac (27-inch, Late 2013 and later)
- Mac mini (Late 2014)
- MacBook Air (Early 2015)
- MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015)
As for the new 12-inch MacBook, the laptop will be able to support displays and rates of 3840x2160 at a 30 Hz refresh rate and 4096x2160 at a 24 Hz refresh rate. MacBook users wanting to use such a display will, of course, need to use Apple's USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter to do so.
applelogoThanks to the iPhone 6, the iPad Air 2, the iPad mini 3, OS X Yosemite, and iOS 8, 2014 was a major year for Apple. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus brought new screen sizes and a radical redesign, while iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite introduced deep integration between Apple's mobile and desktop operating systems.

The past year has seen an impressive display of innovation and new ideas, but upcoming product releases and rumors suggest that 2015 may be an even more monumental year for Apple.

Along with the Apple Watch, which Apple has said will launch in early 2015, we will likely see major updates across the Mac lineup due to the availability of Intel's next-generation Broadwell chips. An Apple TV update has long been in the works and could see a 2015 debut, and as it has done every year, Apple will undoubtedly update its iPad and iPhone lineup, along with releasing new versions of iOS and OS X.

As we did last year, we've highlighted Apple's prospective 2015 product plans, outlining what we might see from Apple over the course of the next 12 months based on current rumors.

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Twelve South today announced a new horizontal stand designed specifically for the new model of Mac Pro. Unlike most of Twelve South's product line, the BookArc for Mac Pro is made of a shinier chrome plate that offsets the deep black colors of the Mac Pro itself. The specially designed stand allows Mac Pros to be placed horizontally, saving vertical space in cabinets and on shelves. Earlier in the year Apple confirmed horizontal placement of the Mac Pro unit was safe and operable, under certain guidelines.

The beautiful, arc-shaped stand holds a Mac Pro horizontally, cutting the vertical height requirement in half. A lower height increases the number of places you can park the most powerful Mac available, including inside professional gear racks and studio shelves.

Is it safe to use a Mac Pro horizontally? Absolutely. It will perform exactly the same on its side as it will upright. In fact, the Apple Tech Note that refers to using a Mac Pro on its side was the inspiration for designing this curved metal stand. Historically, most stand-alone Macs were able to be used on their side or vertically. Twelve South now brings this flexible option to the newest Mac Pro with the BookArc for Mac Pro.
According to Twelve South, if placed inside a racked studio cabinet the Mac Pro on BookArc takes up only seven spaces against the fifteen it would occupy if placed vertically. Twelve South also sells BookArc for a wide variety of Apple products, including ones for MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and nearly all lines of iPad, including the new iPad Air 2.

The BookArc for Mac Pro can be purchased today for $59.99 from Twelve South's official website.
Apple has recently added the Mac Pro to the refurbished section of its online store, giving customers the opportunity to purchase the professional-level desktop at a 15 percent discount compared to a brand-new machine for the first time since the computer's December 2013 release.

There are several different configurations available, ranging in price from $2,549 for the 3.7GHz quad-core machine with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage to $7,479 for the 2.7Ghz 12-core machine with 32GB RAM and 1TB storage. All available refurbished Mac Pro models ship within 3 to 5 business days.

All of Apple's refurbished products, the Mac Pro included, have been thoroughly tested for reliability and come with the same one-year warranty offered with standard products.

Apple's 2013 Mac Pro made waves when it was released, due to its radically redesigned cylindrical form factor and the fact that the machine is the first to be assembled in the United States. It features Ivy Bridge E processors, dual GPUs, Thunderbolt 2, and fast PCI Express-based flash storage.
After nearly three and a half years with only a minor processor bump, Apple late last year launched its redesigned Mac Pro, moving to a compact cylindrical design relying on a slew of Thunderbolt 2 ports for expandability. While the new machine began shipping in the last few days of 2013, extreme shortages of the machine persisted for months and it wasn't until two months ago that shipping estimates reached the "within 24 hours" level and Apple's own retail stores began stocking the Mac Pro for immediate purchase.

Potential Mac Pro customers may now, however, be starting to look forward to the first update for the redesigned Mac Pro, as Intel appears set to launch new processors appropriate for the Mac Pro next month. As highlighted by Macworld UK, Intel's "Grantley" Xeon E5 v3 chips are nearly ready to ship as successors to the current "Romley" Xeon E5 v2 chips used in the Mac Pro.

Intel announced last month that it had begun shipping at least some versions of the new Xeon E5 v3 chips to server makers, and widespread availability is reportedly set for September. ChipLoco outlined a significant set of E5-2600 v3 series chips, including several that recently became available for pre-order and could be used as an upgrade to the current top-of-the-line 2.7 GHz 12-core E5-2697 v2 chip found in the Mac Pro.

The direct successor to the current chip is the 2.6 GHz 14-core E5-2697 v3 chip, although the new chip does come with a higher thermal rating and it is unclear whether that change would have any impact on Apple's willingness to use the chip in the Mac Pro. Other variants in the new high-end E5-269x v3 series range from 12 to 18 cores.

Below the top end, Apple currently uses E5-1600 v2 series processors, and Intel is reportedly preparing a full set of successor v3 chips for launch next month.

- 4-core: 3.7 GHz E5-1620 v2 moves to 3.5 GHz E5-1620 v3 or 3.7 GHz E5-1630 v3
- 6-core: 3.5 GHz E5-1650 v2 moves to 3.5 GHz E5-1650 v3
- 8-core: 3.0 GHz E5-1680 v2 moves to 3.2 GHz E5-1680 v3

As with the E5-2600 v3 series chips, these E5-1600 v3 series chips come with higher thermal ratings than their predecessors. All of the new chips in both series also support faster DDR4-2133 memory, which will also contribute to improved performance.

On the graphics side, Apple uses customized versions of AMD's FirePro series of high-end graphics cards, although Apple's D300, D500, and D700 options can be roughly equated with AMD's W7000, W8000, and W9000 on the PC side. Over the last several months, AMD has been updating its FirePro cards, culminating with this week's introduction of four new cards, including the W7100 successor to the W7000 card. Alex4D summarizes how the W9100/W8100/W7100 cards introduced in recent months compare to their predecessors and collates a handy comparison chart showing how these new and old cards compare to Apple's D-series cards.
At each level AMD have at least doubled the VRAM, added 40% more stream processors. The W8100 and W9100 have wider memory buses (so more information can be transferred for each command) and many more transistors.

Although Apple can specify any number of stream processors, clock speeds or VRAM, these more recent cards show what AMD considers is the low-, medium- and high-end when it comes to PCs. For Mac owners perspective, they show how much card for a similar amount of money AMD can now make compared with the cards in the Mac Pro and 2012.
As for when updated Mac Pro models might arrive, that remains unclear, but the good news is that the pieces supporting a potential upgrade are starting to fall into place. While Intel's new processors are reportedly scheduled to arrive next month, it is unlikely a Mac Pro upgrade is that close given Apple's usual iPhone focus for that month. But it seems possible an upgrade could be in the works by late this year or early next year depending on how Apple decides to space out its product launches and at what point it views the Mac Pro as in need of a boost.
Apple today launched a new $49 Mac Pro Security Lock Adapter in its online store, offering users of the new Mac Pro a way to easily secure their machines using existing Kensington locks. Previously, users had to resort to custom building their own locks or ordering more expensive third-party solutions.

Apple's lock adapter is a simple metal bracket that secures the lift-off cover of the Mac Pro to the base of the machine with a security cable, preventing access to the machine's internals. The cable lock can then of course be secured to a bulky object or dedicated security ring found on some desks to make it difficult for thieves to steal the machine.

The Mac Pro Security Lock Adapter lets you use a compatible Kensington or similar style third-party lock (sold separately) to keep your Mac Pro secure. The adapter attaches without tools and does not modify or damage the Mac. With a compatible lock connected, the Mac Pro Lock Adapter secures the housing to the enclosure, preventing access to internal components.
Since the Mac Pro's appearance in its retail stores, even Apple has had to use alternate methods to secure the machines, opting for an Ethernet-based alarm system that simply sets off an alarm when the Mac Pro is removed rather than securing it in place.

The Mac Pro Security Lock Adapter is available now in the Apple Online Store for $49. The adapter is not yet being offered for immediate pickup in Apple's retail stores, but will presumably be making its way to the company's stores around the world in the coming days.